There are a lot of parents especially in India who keep reaching out to me all the time concerned about their child’s growth in terms of their physical growth. So rather than looking at the foods that promote good growth, there are two or three lifestyle tips that we need to talk about that are currently the main reasons why children struggle to grow to that particular height.
So number one is inactivity. Today more and more kids are spending time in front of the television, Xboxes, video games and there’s so much of less activity in their lives. We need to understand that every time a child walks or plays or runs or jumps which is why when you see infants and they start moving in two toddlers they crawl and then they walk and they start jumping around they’re very active because you know the sole of your foot every time it touches the ground which means when you have a step forward when you walk forward or you jump or you move it stimulates your lymphatic system which also stimulates the production of human growth hormones. Growth in relation to height is all about HGH which is your human growth hormone. Very little of it has to do anything with protein. Protein is a macronutrient which is one of the building blocks of the human body but it doesn’t mean that if you have more protein you’re going to grow faster or you’re going to grow taller in fact giving a kid more protein than required will actually put oxidative stress on the kids kidney and make the body and ph level more acidic in nature which again becomes an obstacle to good growth.
A child’s body as well as an adult is designed to move. It is never designed to be stationary in one place for a long period of time and if you look at today’s life you’ll see that the life of an adult and shockingly the life of a child is becoming more and more sedentary in nature. So there is nothing to stimulate the production of human growth hormones which is why growth gets hampered. So that’s why we always encourage children to jump like the trampoline that’s a great exercise. It’s also called rebounding. Every time a child jumps the sole of the foot hits the ground there’s stimulation and activation of the lymphatic system and human growth hormones. So the more at your kids play the more that they’re active you stimulate human growth hormones.
The second thing is sugar. The amount of junk food and processed foods and foods filled with sugar and the wrong salt, including aerated drinks that young children consumed today is the reason why their growth gets hampered and let me explain how that works.
When a child or even an adult consumes in excess of sugar there’s a hormone called somatostatin that gets produced. Now somatostatin signals to the brain to stop producing HGH. Somatostatin signals the pancreas to produce less insulin which means higher blood sugar levels and the possibility of more fat storage which means again hampered production of HGH. So somatostatin gets produced in the body when there is too much of sugar and take too much of fructose. I’m talking about for fake fructose. I’m not talking about fructose from fruits.
So if you look at a child’s life today there’s inactivity and there’s too much of sugar; the very two things that hamper the production of HGH which is a human growth hormone. So no matter how much of protein you add to your child’s diet if there’s less activity and too much of junk food the whole equation is not in balance and the kid doesn’t grow and because something like somatostatin can stop the production of such an important hormone and can influence insulin as well as HGH, it’s also creating other damage in your child’s body which may hamper not only growth but also development of the mind and the physical self and hormones and that’s the same issue that we have with most children today and because it’s hampering insulin, a child has more and more cravings for the wrong foods which are filled with sugar and salt.
The third thing is recovery. A child should be sleeping for an average of ten to twelve hours. I’m talking from the age group of two right up to nine and ten. I need you to ask yourself how many hours of sleep does your child get. Most children sleep less than eight hours today and most of the growth, development, rejuvenation, repair of cells and hormonal balance happens while you sleep. When an infant is born they sleep for 14 to 16 hours a day because that’s the time the body is growing, the limbs are growing, muscle tissues are growing, cells are growing and that tends to increase and then it decreases at midlife and it increases again as we get older and older. So compromising on your child sleep just because you need to fill up his or day with extracurricular activities, tuitions, new language classes; you are compromising the growth and development of your child.
You work with it from a different approach. You first ensure that they’re getting their minimum of nine to ten hours of sleep and then you see how much of time is left in their day to fit in whatever it is that you need to fit into their day.
The fourth thing is stress. You may think that only adults go through stress in today’s lifetime but you have no idea how much of stress children go through. Right from peer pressure to being accepted to fitting in socially into friends groups, from being compared with other children, from the immense amount of competitiveness that schools promote and parents promote. That stress increases their cortisol levels which is a stress hormone that stays chronic and it impacts somatostatin, growth hormones, thyroxin, DHEA and testosterone. All of this is needed for a child to grow up into a strong and healthy person.
So again it’s holistic for children and for adults. That’s the danger of sugar. So keep it in moderation to make sure that your kids never consume it in excess because sugar is white poison which will create problems in your child’s development mentally as well as physically.
So remember somatostatin inhibits the growth hormones which is human growth hormones and insulin which impacts your child’s growth. So clean up their diets, get them to be more active, start working with them to reduce the stress in their life. A child’s body and mind is not designed to go through the stress that children go through today. So as parents i always ask parents to reflect are you doing it for them or are you doing it for you or are you doing it to feel good about yourself that you’re giving all and more to your kids. These are questions which are real and questions that you have to ask yourself without putting your child through the brunt of all these little mistakes which will contribute to poor health.